Compensation Clues about a Company’s Culture

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What does compensation have to do with a company’s culture? A lot, according to Payscale, a leader in compensation management solutions. Payscale’s 2017 Compensation Best Practices Report states that “Compensation is one of the number one culture-definers for organizations.”

If you are looking for a new job or in the negotiation stages, the compensation on the table tells you how much a company values your talent, but also may hint at more, including how well the hiring company treats its employees overall.

Don’t just look at the compensation on the table, though. Go deeper. Ask about the company’s history of annual compensation increases. It’s okay to ask that question. Does the company pay for performance or is tenure a bigger indicator of substantial increases? This will be important to you in judging what your potential increase will be and how fast you can possibly grow your income.

Does the company pay a standard 3-5% annual increase, and what does it take to get a bigger jump in salary? Is promotion the only way to garner bigger compensation increases? Too many candidates are so focused on the initial offer that they fail to investigate what impacts their future earning potential.

As expected, high-performing and enterprise companies typically offer better compensation as opposed to non-profits or underperforming businesses. If you are offered a compensation package that doesn’t stack up at the former, it can be a clue about overall culture and how a company appreciates its people.

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Image: Payscale’s 2017 Compensation Best Practices Report

Some companies play the low-ball salary negotiation game and offer a lesser amount on the first offer, waiting for you to negotiate a higher income. Be leery of that too. A really great company with an award-winning culture knows the value of its talent and communicates it from the get go. They show respect to candidates by cutting to the chase and putting the very best offer on the table—the first time.

Know your worth and know the company you are interviewing with. Look for red flags that can tell you more about the company’s culture and what it might be like to work there. Don’t be fooled by a great brand, mission or accolades that may merely amount to great marketing. Compensation may be a great indicator of what’s really under the hood.

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